Tag Archives: Belgian IPA

823. Enlightenment Ales Illumination

Enlightenment Ales IlluminationThe Belgian IPA or Hoppy Saison is not a style I drink a lot. I like IPAs and drink a lot of them and I like saisons but rarely do the styles mix and create something worthwhile. Hugh Malone from Allagash may be the only memorable beer within the style and this year’s Hugh Malone was even better than the one reviewed above. I got this bottle from a friend and decided to give it a shot.

Illumination pours a very bright and clean copper color with a very thick soapy white head. Aroma was an interesting mix of floral hops, saison yeast and a bit funky. The hops are there in the aroma but they really shine in the flavor with a big blast of citrus and floral hops to start. When I say big I mean big relative to the style, there is enough there to satisfy an IPA drinker but you won’t be overwhelmed by hops. Finish turns more towards that traditional saison with some spice and yeast coming through and a very mild bitterness.

Overall a very interesting and complex beer from Enlightenment Ales and one of the best of the style that I have tried.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.8% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Enlightenment Ales
Brewers Description: Illumination is a beer inspired by two of my favorite brewing traditions: the rustic farmhouse ales of Belgium and the generously hopped IPA’s of America’s West Coast. Born from a grist of barley, wheat and rye, and fermented with a blend of infamously expressive farmhouse ale yeasts, Illumination begins its life as a classic Saison, only to be transformed into something unique through robust additions of American dry hops. The result is a beer with an intensely tropical aroma, a juicy, citrus flavor, and a dry, crisp bitterness. While this beer may not provide immediate illumination to the mysteries of life, it’s sure to at least brighten the corners.

786. Four Quarters Brewing Barleygirl

Four Quarters BarleygirlPicked this one up via an in person trade at Hill Farmstead a while back. I actually drank the beer over a month ago but just now writing up the review and getting it posted to the blog.

Crowlers are relatively new and Four Quarters is only the second brewery that I have tried a crowler from. This is my first beer from Four Quarters but I will have to check them out on my next trip to Vermont as I was impressed.  Barleygirl is described as a Belgian Double IPA which may be a first for me.

Appearance is a nice unfiltered orange. Aroma is a pleasant mix of spice and sweet malts. Nothing too crazy in either the appearance or aroma but enjoyable. Taste was a bit muted for a double IPA with some sweet malts and a light citrus bitterness. Finish was quite dry and left me wanting more. Overall a quality beer but I’m not sure the combination of Belgian yeast and a DIPA worked for me. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.1% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Four Quarters
Brewers Description: Belgian Double IPA with Simcoe

726. Foundation Brewing Blaze

Foundation Brewing BlazeUntil recently Foundation only offered beer in growlers either directly from the brewery or at the Bier Cellar in Portland. This changed recently with the introduction of 750 ml bottles available both at the brewery and through select retailers. I picked up this bottle of Blaze at the brewery.

Blaze is Foundation’s hoppy saison using their house yeast with six different varieties of hops to create a very interesting beer. Appearance is an unfiltered orange with a nice off white head. Aroma is a mix of citrus/tropical hops and the spice from the saison yeast. Taste starts with the spicy saison then the hops come in with a nice juicy flavor.

The hoppy saison, Belgian IPA, hopped farmhouse ale or whatever you want to call it continues to grow on me but I still prefer a straight up saison or American style IPA.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): 68.5
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Foundation Brewing
Brewers Description: Vivid hop aromas, citrus, and tropical fruits meld with pine and spice. A touch of malt sweetness finishing with a smooth yet crisp bitterness. This is our marriage of classic American hop flavors with the fruity, spicy nature of our yeast. Honoring the tradition of a Saison, while exploring the spirit of the American IPA, this farmhouse IPA blazes its own path.

465. Night Shift Brewing Oasis

Night Shift OasisI’ve been looking forward to trying Night Shift beer for some time and recently one of my followers was coming up to Allagash for a bottle release and was nice enough to grab a couple of bottles for me on his way up. Oasis is their Belgian style IPA which is not a style I typically enjoy. Somehow the mix of Belgian yeast and hops just do not mix well for me.

This one renewed my interest in Belgian IPAs as it was entirely unique and quite enjoyable. Appearance has a deep orange color with a thick white head. Aroma has plenty of Belgian yeast but also some very nice floral hops and spice. Taste is a nice mix of the Belgian spice/yeast and the floral hops you get in the nose. It was very easy to drink and something I would certainly try again. 
Pros:
Solid appearance, taste and aroma
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Night Shift Brewing
Brewers Description: Belgian-style IPA brewed with cascade hops, coriander, and cardamom

Amidst our desert of mostly hop-barren beers, you’ve finally found Night Shift’s Oasis. Our first IPA to hit bottles, Oasis features citrusy Cascade hops that dance and mingle with the zesty, Arabian spices of coriander and cardamom. A fruity Belgian yeast strain unites the variety of flavors into a crisp, bright, truly satisfying ale.

367. Backlash Beer Company Declaration

A couple weeks ago I spent an entire week drinking Allagash Brewing beer including 2 different Belgian IPAs. This one has been in my beer fridge for a while after a friend picked up for me on a trip to Mass and I decided to give it a try. The packaging is beautiful with a very simple but effective label, white wax on the top and the Backlash brass knuckles pressed into the wax on top of the cap. A beautiful presentation and certainly something that will grab your eye if you are wandering the aisles.

The beer pours a slightly hazy light copper with solid white head. Aroma has some herbal hop and plenty of Belgian yeast. Aroma is much lighter than American style IPAs but still pleasant. Hops are the first thing you taste followed quickly by the Belgian yeasts and malts. This beer is clean and refreshing for a Belgian style beer and the bottle was gone very quickly.

Really enjoyed this beer and looking forward to more from Backlash Beer Company. 
Pros:
Refreshing, well balanced and great packaging
Cons: 

Alcohol Content: 7.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 47
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Backlash Beer Co
Brewers Description: Declaration is a Belgian Style IPA which packs a hop presence we’ve never seen in this style before. There is a massive hops profile from our heavy-handed dosing of American hops, yet still enough room for our Belgian yeast to make an appearance. Dark golden in color and light in body, Declaration will dry you out and make you want more with each sip.

In fact, Declaration may just be one of the hoppiest Belgian style beers ever — but don’t take our word for it.

357. Allagash Brewing Hugh Malone Ale

This beer was my second Belgian IPA in two nights after having the Prince Tuesday the night before. These beers were very similar but I enjoyed the Prince Tuesday just a bit more than this one.

Look is very similar, nice orange color and thick white head. The Belgian yeast is dominant in the aroma with some floral hops coming through. Taste is very well balanced with lots of malt character in the beginning, followed by a nice wave of Belgian yeast flavor and then the hops come in. Some apple and a nice bitter finish. Alcohol is there but certainly not overpowering and no burn.

Overall this is a very good Belgian IPA but this style is one that I am just beginning to appreciate. 
Pros:
Bold/Complex flavors
Cons:
Belgian yeast is dominant
Alcohol Content: 7.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: 
Brewers Description: Hugh Malone begins with a grain bill featuring a blend of Maine grown barley, imported Pilsner, and raw wheat malt. At the beginning of run off, we add a portion of hops to the sweet wort in the kettle; a technique known as “first wort hopping”. As the boil begins, a generous amount of Chinook hops are added for bittering. Later, in the whirlpool, the beer is hopped with a blend of Centennial and Amarillo, for aroma. This same blend is used, post fermentation, to lend additional hop character to the finished beer. The result is a complex brew with a malty palate, intense hop aromas, pronounced bitterness and a pleasantly dry finish.

*Hugh Malone is a tribute to responsible agricultural practices and informed consumption. Allagash Brewing Company donates $1 from every bottle of Hugh Malone sold, to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), the country’s oldest and largest state organic farmer coalition. MOFGA is a non-profit organization that educates farmers and gardeners about organic cultivation. They work to create resources for consumers interested in buying local and organic foods. With more than 5,500 members and 2,000 active volunteers MOFGA continues to inform consumers about the connection between healthful food, and environmentally sound growing practices. www.mofga.org

356. Allagash / Maine Beer / Rising Tide – Prince Tuesday

This is a collaboration beer between 3 breweries that were all located on Industrial  Way in Portland. After this beer was brewed Rising Tide moved to Fox Street in Portland but the other 2 remain. I believe this beer uses Allagash’s yeast, Rising Tide’s malt and hops from Maine Beer Company. It was brewed at Allagash, bottled by them in 750 ml cork and cage bottles and distributed by through their distribution channels.  I went to the release party at Mama’s Crowbar and met fellow bloggers as well as Nathan and Heather from Rising Tide and David from Maine Beer. I left before Rob Tod arrived but it was still a fun event.

Nice looking beer with a solid white head when poured into a tulip glass. Aroma is fairly subdued with some of the Belgian yeast and a bit of floral hops. Nothing overpowering here but what is there is pleasant enough.  Taste is alright with the Belgian yeast taking over but a slightly bitter finish makes this an easy drinking beer.

Overall this is a nice beer that is not quite as good as Hugh Malone from Allagash which I believe is my next beer to be reviewed. 
Pros: 

Cons: 

Alcohol Content: 8.1% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Allagash Brewing / Maine Beer Company / Rising Tide
Brewers Description: Brewed at Allagash Brewing Co. w/ Rising Tide and Maine Beer Co. with Maine grown rye, copious amounts of hops and a Belgian yeast strain. Proceeds to Portland Trails.

353. Lagunitas Brewing Little Sumpin’ Wild

Right after I finished the Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ I decided to open my bomber of Little Sumpin’ Wild. They use a Belgian yeast strain for this one.

Appearance is similar to the Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ but that is where the similarities end. Lots and lots aroma with plenty of funk to it and some nice sweet candy smells. You also get a fair amount of citrus – basically there is a lot going with the aroma and it is all excellent.

This is certainly one of the more complex beers I have had with a little bit of everything in the taste. You have the flavors from the Belgian yeast, a nice hop character and just the right amount of funk from the wild yeast.  The taste lingers forever and with an ABV approaching 9% you definitely feel this beer.

Overall this is a very good beer and a beer that would work well to introduce others to the wild yeast beers. 
Pros:
Complex flavor and huge aroma
Cons: 

Alcohol Content: 8.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Lagunitas Brewing
Brewers Description: Another Big Sister of the Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale…. Lots of Malted Wheat for a Curious Malt Complexity & and Fermented with Our Belgian Yeast strain leaving it Huge in Flavor and Satisfaction.

313. Samuel Adams Grumpy Monk

This is another IPA that was part of Samuel Adams Hop-ology. So far I am not too impressed. Grumpy Monk is the Belgian IPA included in the variety pack.

Appearance is OK, nice orange color with thin white head. Minimal lacing left on the glass not a very impressive start. Same goes for the aroma which is minimal with some light malt and a bit of banana, citrus hop. Have to get your nose almost in the beer before picking up anything so again not too impressed with this. Taste is a little better as you get a fair amount of malt flavor but minimal hops which is why most people buy IPAs. Beer goes down easy and with a relatively low 5.7% ABV and 188 calories it is certainly drinkable just not something I would seek out. 
Pros:  
Flavorful
Cons: Not a lot of hops
Alcohol Content: 5.7% ABV
Calories: 188
IBU (Bitterness): 55
Rating: ★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Samuel Adams
Brewers Description: The long held brewing traditions of Belgian monks aren’t meant to be broken.  Yet, to the monks’ dismay, the distinctive character of Belgian yeast with its spicy clove and fruit notes can be reimagined when combined with the brazen hop character of an IPA.  These hops impart a citrusy, piney, and earthy flavor that’s balanced by a roasted malt sweetness for a complex and playful brew. Continue reading 313. Samuel Adams Grumpy Monk

207. Rock Art Brewery American-Belgo Style IPA

I had no idea what to expect with this one, what is an American-Belgo Style IPA?? Apparently it is an IPA using Belgian yeast to give it a mix of 2 entirely different styles. The beer pours a copper color with very little head which disappears almost immediately. The photo here is after an aggressive pour and you can see almost no head. Aroma was great with lots of yeast and fruit. Taste seemed a bit off with the mix of the Belgian yeasts and hops. I enjoy Belgian style beers and I enjoy IPAs just not sure I enjoy them mixed together. Certainly not a bad beer but if you want a Belgian beer get one, if you want a double IPA get one – no reason to try to get them in the same beer.
Pros: Unique
Cons:  Odd combination of styles
Alcohol Content: 7.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 70
Rating: 3 / 5
Brewers Website: Long Trail
Brewers Description: This is an American IPA fermented with our house strain of Belgian yeast. The beer has a soft copper body, malty and balanced with 70 IBU from our Columbus bittering hop addition. The hops then transition into flavoring hop additions during the last 30 minutes of brewing. At the end of the brew we add buckets full of aroma hops and ferment at a warm temperature. Then to capture even more hop flavors and aromas we poured more buckets full of hops directly into the beer (dry hop) and allow the beer to rest and absorb all the delicious hop goodness.